The Academy graduate wore the armband for the first time in Florence, joining a list of all-time greats to lead the side out.
And it's when you throw the names at the midfielder - Danny Blanchflower, Alan Mullery, Steve Perryman, Gary Mabbutt, Ledley King, Michael Dawson - that it dawns on him what a special moment it was in the Stadio Artemio Franchi.
Ryan, now 24, led by example as we secured a 1-1 draw in the first leg of our Europa League Round of 32 tie.
"You hear this from footballers a lot, but I always dreamt of being captain," he reflected after training on Tuesday.
"As a young kid, I remember before games the referee would always shout ‘who are the captains’ and I’d always run to the centre and captain the side.
"When I was playing Under-21 football it was always an honour to captain the side and the experience of leading the team out for such a crucial game at Fiorentina was an unbelievable feeling.
"I was so excited just to be back playing because I’d spent a long time out and the gaffer pulled me to one side and said ‘are you ready to captain the side?’ and obviously it was a dream.
"It’s another cliché, but it’s another dream ticked off my list.
"I’ve got a taste of it now and hopefully if I’m still here and involved in a few years’ time I'll get the chance on a more consistent basis."
Look out for Ryan's interview in full in 'The Big Interview' tomorrow...